No matter what city your living in, what neighborhood you choose will be a big decision. This is especially so New York where things can feel very different depending on what neighborhood you prefer. If you’re not aware, NYC has five boroughs, each one very different to the others. For this article, we’ll just be looking at Manhattan. Each neighborhood here, like in any borough, has its distinct feel, culture, and vibe. If you feel set on making Manhattan your borough of choice, the next decision is which neighborhood suits you best. Manhattan has a lot of neighborhoods, 53 to be exact. Rather than list them all (which would require a book-length article) here are five neighborhoods that we feel provide you with the best experience. Just ask yourself which of these neighborhoods sound like a place you’d like to make a home?
Upper West Side
If you’ve ever watched a TV show set in New York, there’s a good chance it featured the Upper West Side. This is where Jerry Seinfeld lived (both on the show and in real life). Where Liz Lemon lived on 30 Rock and where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks lived on You’ve Got Mail. All this makes it sound glamorous, but you may be thinking it’s all but inaccessible to anyone not on a celebrity budget. While there are undoubtedly million-dollar homes available there you can make it work on a tighter budget.
It’s very popular with families, and you’ll often see them there pushing strollers and walking dogs on weekends. It’s also nestled right between Central Park and Riverside Park, so there’s no shortage of green spaces. If you love culture, it’s where you’ll find the Lincoln Center, home of the NY Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, and NY Ballet. Although expensive, this is a neighborhood that is close to almost everything and has more than enough to keep you entertained.
If you want the trendiness and chic of SoHo without the hordes of tourists, then NoHo is the place to be. Located between Greenwich Village and East Village, NoHo is a neighborhood of cobblestoned streets, classic cast-iron architecture and quiet lanes lined with trees and retail boutiques. It’s only a few blocks wide and is mostly composed of apartment buildings, most of which are under five stories. The whole neighborhood has been designated a historic district, so you can be confident that it won’t be changing anytime soon. It’s all very artsy, and you never have to walk far without finding something unique. Here you can find the Astor Place Theater, The Hole (a contemporary art gallery) and SubCulture (an underground listening room).
What draws people here is the many spacious condos and co-op apartments and loft-style apartments that are perfect for artists. Due to its central location, it’s also incredibly accessible with five different subway lines, the B, D, F, V and 6. If you can afford the steep prices, you won’t regret it. It’s a great place filled with students’ artists and professionals. It’s also located right next to SoHo, East Village, Greenwich Village, and Nolita.
This is the one that regularly tops the list for the most expensive neighborhood in the whole city. Filled with cobblestone streets, world-famous restaurants, and many of the whos-who and celebrities of NYC, this is the most exclusive neighborhood in the city. You’ll find many classy joints here like restaurants by world-famous chefs, upscale fashion outlets and it’s also home to a little thing called the Tribeca film festival. The neighborhood is mostly made up of old warehouse buildings that have been converted into luxury condos and loft apartments. Many of these are very trendy and new which lends a fresh look to the neighborhood.
It’s also family-friendly with beautiful public parks right on the waterfront, plenty of playgrounds and high-quality schools all right in the area. Those who work in the Financial District can walk to work which is not a comfortable luxury to find in Manhattan. Even if you work elsewhere, you’ll still have little trouble getting around as nearly every subway line passes through it.
Once the gritty hub of the city’s art scene, East Village has seen a lot of changes since it’s bohemian days. Massive gentrification has taken a lot of the edge off it, but it remains a favorite spot for loveable misfits. The neighborhood has the highest concentration of bars in the city, and there’s never a lack of things to do. There are creative classes, comedy clubs, and plenty of live music. The dining options are fantastic. Make sure to try the steakhouse burger at Brindle Room which you can then wash down with a pint at McSorley’s, the oldest still-running bar in the city. After that, you can spend an evening at the Anthology Film Archives or The Public Theater. Apartments here tend to be a bit smaller than other neighborhoods, but you make up for it in location.
Chelsea is one of those neighborhoods that offers a little bit of everything. Bordered by Hell’s Kitchen to the north, the Flatiron District to the east, the Meatpacking District to the south and the Hudson River to the west, it’s a neighborhood that puts you in the center of Manhattan without feeling like you’re in the center. The buildings you’ll find there are just as diverse as the residents. On the east-west streets, there are historic brownstones while on the north-south avenues you’ll find an abundance of luxury condos and rentals.
What makes it so loved is the level of entertainment. There are over 100 art galleries to visit, the Joyce Theater is never short on performances and on 23rd street you’ll find more movie theaters then you can see in a day. Then there’s the Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment complex, 30 acres of golf, bowling, basketball, baseball, and gymnastics. When you need to eat you’ll never be short for options. Here you’ll find a mix of American cuisine, ethnic cuisine and even food trucks on 6th Avenue and 18th Street. Another perk is the famous Chelsea Market which offers two dozen specialty shops such as bakeries, cheese, gourmet coffee, and wines. If you’re looking for a place with a mix of everything while still being a short commute to the midtown area, then Chelsea will not disappoint.